The waterfront recreation season started later than usual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and periods of poor air quality from wildfires compromised use in late summer. Yet despite these challenges, the Hood River Waterfront experienced one of the windiest and busiest summers on record, with businesses reporting “a good year.”Read More
The Columbia Gorge region is a collection of small towns and rural counties in two states. We are connected through a shared economy, transportation and communication systems, and public agencies. The best and perhaps only way to accomplish big things and address large issues in this context is through collaboration. In the challenging year of 2020, two examples show this necessity of teamwork.
A major milestone in the Port of Hood River’s progress to replace the Hood River-White Salmon Interstate Bridge was reached in late November with the publication of the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement by the Port, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) and the Bi-State EIS Working Group.Read More
Tolling System Update
BreezeBy is the Port of Hood River’s electronic tolling system that provides customer discounts for crossing the Hood River – White Salmon Bridge and the Bridge of the Gods in Cascade Locks. BreezeBy customers pay $1.00 per crossing in Hood River and $1.25 per crossing in Cascade Locks compared to a $2.00 cash toll on both bridges.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Port accelerated the planned implementation of its All-Electronic Tolling system in May, with the activation of a License Plate Recognition (LPR) system and Department of Motor Vehicles interface for billing of unpaid tolls. The system is similar to those used by tolling agencies in Washington and California and is integrated with the Breezeby transponder-based toll payment system.
If your toll is not paid to the Port of Hood River within seven days, you will receive an Unpaid Toll Invoice by mail. You can pay the toll at portofhoodriver.com/paytoll before a week’s time by submitting details and payment, thereby avoiding an Unpaid Toll Invoice and associated fees.
If you do receive an invoice for a recent toll, you can pay the toll online at https://csc.portofhoodriver.com/paytoll.
If you do not have a BreezeBy account, you can open an account and request a waiver of the administrative fee on your toll invoice. You can also pay the toll without BreezeBy if you’d rather. BreezeBy accounts are easy to set up and manage online.
Summer interns analyze property
Port summer interns Jose Santillan-Morales and Beto Rojas aided the agency in evaluations of Port-owned property in Wasco County. The 66-acre parcel is situated on a steep slope adjacent to the Historic Columbia River Highway state trail, west of the twin tunnels. Santillan and Rojas evaluated the site’s history, soils and topography, zoning and other use restrictions, title history, access, and inventoried vegetation and wildlife species. They presented their findings and recommendations to the Commission on September 15.
Bridge work and capital upgrades
Port crews working alongside crews from Bulldog Welding completed a total of three weeks of maintenance and repair welding to the bridge deck this year; one week in April and two in November. Earlier in the year, contractor Stafford Bandlow worked with Port crews to install new machinery and controls for the lift span as well as off-site monitoring of the lift span. Multiple repairs to the bridge guardrails had to be made this year, as repeated damage occurred from large vehicle strikes.
Winter Shuttle to Mt Hood Meadows
Columbia Area Transit (CAT) began its Gorge to Mountain Express service in mid-December. A seasonal parking agreement was again made between the Port and CAT for a park-and-ride arrangement for skier shuttle parking this season. This year, reservations are required for the $5 trip, and can be made online at ridecatbus.org/gorge-to-mountain-express/or byphoning 541-386-4202.
pFriem Family Brewers expands
pFriem Family Brewers completed a large renovation and expansion at the Port’s Halyard Building on the Hood River waterfront. This project added brewing capacity and a state-of-the-art brew house to reach its production goal of 60,000 barrels. The COVID pandemic has presented serious challenges to Hood River’s otherwise thriving restaurant and pub scene.
Big Art Project continues
Hood River’s Art of Community “Big Art” outdoor gallery of large, public art consists of 22 pieces on loan from artists, and seven permanent sculptures. In this growing number of exhibits, nine sculptures are situated on the waterfront. Two of them have been purchased by the Port for permanent installation. Additionally, the Port supports the Big Art program with an annual sponsorship.
Art of Community was established in 2014 to enhance the community’s identity, visual landscape and character. The Big Art project is funded through the generosity of local businesses, private donors, public agencies and foundations.
For more information, visit art-of-community.com.Read More
Two significant airport improvement projects were completed in 2020: the Federal Aviation Administration-funded North Apron Rehabilitation project and the Oregon Department of Transportation-funded Aviation Technology and Emergency Response Center infrastructure project.Read More